ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland, June 12 (UPI) -- A Newfoundland man who says he fatally shot a polar bear to protect his children waiting for a school bus is facing three criminal charges.
The incident happened in April in the coastal town of Coachman's Cove in central Newfoundland, but news of the charges only emerged this week, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police charged Terry Fitzgerald with shooting a polar bear out of season, shooting a bear without a license and firing a rifle too close to a residence.
This past winter, four polar bears that came ashore in Newfoundland and Labrador from southward-drifting icebergs or floes were shot and killed, the CBC said.
Fitzgerald told the broadcaster two of the shootings were by a police officer and a wildlife official, and neither of them was charged.
In 2008, the United States listed the polar bear as a threatened species although Canada still classifies the bears as a species of special concern, one level below threatened and two levels below endangered, the report said.
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